Sean Spencer

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Sean Spencer played for two major league teams, Seattle and Montreal, and for Greece in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. At 31 he might still be playing if his left elbow had not given out. Spencer threw two no-hit games at South Kitsap High School. One was a 17-strikeout beauty against Wilson. His SK record was 51-10. At the University of Washington he played first base and pitched until he blew his elbow in 1996. The Mariners took a chance on him and nursed him all the way to Seattle where he pitched in two games in 1999. But the Mariners traded him to Montreal for catcher Chris Widger. In 2000 he got into eight games for the Expos. Baltimore gave him another chance in 2003. That was when he learned his Greek ancestry made him eligible for the Greek National Team. As host country Greece was required to field a team in the baseball tournament. Greece won only one game in Athens. Spencer’s all-around play at South Kitsap made him a prime prospect and his play at Washington also was outstanding. In 1993 he was in the same U.S. Olympic Festival group with Alex Rodriguez. In 1994 he was named to the U.S. National team off his play as a Husky. A sore arm denied Spencer a place on the Japan tour. When his arm was right his minor league statistics were outstanding. He had two 18-save seasons and had fanned 53 and walked only 23 in 49 innings at Tacoma before his big league trial in 1999. Montreal had the same experience, but released him during the 2002 season. It was mid-2003 when his arm had healed from anther surgery and Baltimore gave him yet another chance, then gave him permission to join the Greek National Team. He played in four of Greece’s eight games in the 2003 European tournament in Holland. The 2004 Olympic year was his last in baseball. Spencer has returned to Port Orchard, is married and starting a career in banking and real estate.


Larry Maguire

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Larry Maguire taught himself wrestling, but was a born coach. Maguire went from Chelan High School to Central Washington College where he became a tackle on the football team. He was so good at that that he was selected on Central’s all-20th century team and is in Central’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Maguire came to Kitsap County in 1965 as South’s head football and wrestling coach. His South teams won nine consecutive Olympic League titles and 91 straight team matches. His overall South record is 218-37-2. Maguire left South to be principal at Tenino (13 years) but returned to Kitsap County and was North Kitsap’s coach for 10 years. A hearty handshake and his true feeling of care and interest in the students he coached made Maguire among the most popular and respected coaches to grace the region. He is a member of the Washington State High School Coaches Hall of Fame and this summer was recognized by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Museum, Stillwater, Okla. for his lifetime service to the sport of wrestling. Maguire, 72, died of ALS in December 2006.

Coach Leaves Legacy On and Off Mat

Janet Soderberg

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Janet Soderberg, who was the Kitsap Sun Female Athlete of the Year her junior year at Bremerton when the Knights made it to tournament play always wanted to be a Husky, but the route she took to get there was long in years and included a trip to Australia as a player. She was playing on a select team in Australia when June Daugherty, who would become head coach at Washington, first saw her. She played both soccer and basketball at Bremerton, but basketball was her sport. Bremerton coach Doug Wagner made her his point guard and she played for the Cascades select team. When college offers came around, it was Boise State that called. She played her final three years at BSU for Daugherty. Watching Daugherty build the BSU program and capture the attention of Boise State students (from a handful of fans to 11,000 sellouts) helped her decide to answer Daugherty’s invitation to stay another year as her student assistant. Her coaching trail went from Boise State, 1992-93; University of the Pacific, 1993-95; BSU, 1995-99 (three years as associate head coach); Nevada, 1999-2000; a year off to work on a doctorate, and then back with Daugherty at Washington where she was an assistant until 2007. She has a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Boise State and earned a masters in educational and counseling psychology while coaching at Pacific. At Nevada she was the recruiting coordinator and handled team travel and game scheduling.

Jerry Parrish

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Jerry Parrish requires a love for young people and knowing a bit about football. Parrish retired from 46 years of coaching and teaching after the 2004 season, but came back for another season and still helps out occasionally. Parrish is a regular at a wide range of Viking events, living what he preaches. He also works at making his sport better for both players and spectators. Over the years he adjusted his wing-T offense to fit the talent and the times, to something he calls "Wings and Things." In 32 seasons as coach at North, he has been a winner 22 times, including 10 straight, 1982-91 (71-28 record). He has been the executive secretary of the Washington State Coaches Association, since 1992; Seattle Seahawks Coaches Council, 2004-06; selection committee of the Washington State All-Star Football Game, since 1978; National Federation of High School Athletics Rules Committee, 1993-97; and executive member of the National Organization of Coaches Association direct, since 1992. His awards include the Washington State Football Coaches Hall of Fame. National Football Foundation National Achievement Award, and 12th winner of the Tony Gasparovich Award.

Steve Force

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Force has been bowling since he was 7 and has captained the Benik team for 20 years. He led the Open run with a 695. Brian Van Wert, 692; Lonnie Sharkey, 688; Henry Dawson, 680, and Robert Zerbrugg, 647, filled the Benik count to 3,402 pins. Force was a legend before his time. On a snowy January night in 1971, as a 17-year-old sub, he joined the high rollers with an 819 series (289-275-255), the first 800 series in county history and the county standard for years after. He was the youngest 800 roller nationally for that season, 1970-71, and was featured in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd for his achievement. He’s been a high roller ever since. Encouraged by his parents and family he has a long list of achievements and now is adding senior bowling accomplishments. In 1988 he was elected to the Kitsap County Bowling Association Hall of Fame and three years later to the Kitsap Scratch Bowlers Organization Hall of Fame. He has 28 KSBO titles; was Northwest Bowlers Association all-events champion in 1987 and ’88 (241 and 239 averages), and general manager at All Star Lanes for 11 years before joining the Benik Corp. 10 years ago. Since turning 50, Force has won two NW Senior tours, four Western Washington Senior Tours, the Washington Senior Tournament Grand Finals, and in 2004 ran a five-game series of 280-227-197-300-299 in the Oregon Senior Tournament at Albany. In his last two games he had 23 consecutive strikes and his 1,303 was a 261 average. He has had eight perfect 300 games and his highest season average is 224. Force led Benik Corporation to national prominence with a fourth-place finish in the 2006 U.S. Bowling Congress Open Championships at Corpus Christi, Texas. Force currently bowls for the Puget Sound Senior All-Star Tour.

1947 Bremerton football team

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Excitement over a Bremerton High School football team has probably never been higher than it was the fall of 1947. The team had been 8-2 in 1946 and the only starter lost was running back Gale Wade, who turned down a college scholarship for $5,000 to sign with the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team. Quarterback Don Heinrich was the team leader and Dwight Scheyer was the coach. Scheyer, at 6-4, 220-pounds, was a striking individual. He had been an all-Coast tackle at Washington State College under the legendary Babe Hollingbery and placed third in the discus in the 1935 NCAA championships
Scheyer came to Bremerton as head football and baseball coach in 1942. His experience was two uneventful seasons at North Kitsap and Snohomish, But at Bremerton he walked into a loaded deck and he knew how to play it.
Bremerton had rejoined several other major schools in a revival of the pre-war Cross-State League. So the schedule was not an easy one.
The Wildcats had been working all summer at Twanoh State Park and any place else they found room in hopes of having a really great season. Then they heard talk from Seattle, where high school teams were not allowed to compete outside the city, that there might be a "Turkey Day" game against the Seattle champion in the High School Memorial Stadium on Thanksgiving Day.
Bremerton had whipped O’Dea 64-0 in its opener and was on its way. Everett, a victor over Bremerton for 11 straight years, and Yakima were two possible roadblocks. Yakima beat Everett 8-7 on a bad-snap safety in the mud at Everett, but Bremerton finally whipped the Seagulls, 27-0.
Meanwhile, the Seattle prize was confirmed and Bremerton was being challenged by everybody. Scheyer and Bremerton Athletic Director Larry Ramm tried to accommodate. Bremerton even squeezed in a Tuesday night game at Port Angeles (a 34-6 win) to appease the Olympic League.
It was during halftime at PA that Scheyer told his team they already had the Turkey Day bid. But they still had a game at unbeaten Yakima. If Bremerton should lose that one, there would be an uproar all across the state.
Scheyer and Ramm rose to the occasion. In 1947 you couldn’t just go to your nearest airline ticket counter and buy 50 tickets to get your football team from here to there. In fact no Washington high school athletic team had ever flown to a game. And there were no pressurized cabins in those days. It would be a challenge to fly below the oxygen limits and get forth and back before sunset.
In was a beautiful Saturday in Yakima. An overnight skiff of snow had melted. The field was wet, but firm. The Wildcats had no trouble putting Yakima in the same league as Everett, winning 27-0. But now they had to get home. The route was over Snoqualmie Pass and the bewitching hour was 4:05 p.m., official sunset that day.
Another challenge for Scheyer and Ramm was that game day was the day of the Senior Prom. Gambling on early-winter weather and all the hype and prom activities, Scheyer and Ramm won on all fronts.
The Yakima game was a breakout for sophomore running back Tiny Madlin, who scored two of the touchdowns on long runs. Scheyer was not risking his star running back, Jim Wiley. Heinrich was his usual calm and cool self and the small, but quick and hard-hitting Bremerton line opened holes wide enough for anyone to run through.
Used to crowds of more than 4,000 in Memorial Stadium, almost that many crowded a Black Ball ferry to get to the game in Seattle, where 16,000 fans crowded Memorial Stadium.
Bremerton won the game, beating unbeaten Ballard, 19-14. It was the passing of Heinrich and the running of Wiley and the Bremerton line, both offense and defense, that sent the Wildcats home with a perfect 12-0 season.
The Associated Press poll that determined "mythical champions" in those days voted Bremerton the state champion, 15-13. Longview and Chewelah, the unbeatens that Bremerton did not play, got the opposing votes.
Bremerton’s 12-game season raised other complaints and resulted in the "Bremerto rule." Washington high school football teams were limited to nine games. Exceptions were allowed for "traditional" Thanksgiving Day games and playoffs. That rule stood until 1973 when the present high school playoff systeam was adopted.
Five other Wildcats joined Heinrich on the University of Washington freshman team in 1948. They were linemen Ed Boyle, Jack Crawford and Bud Olsen, and halfbacks Wiley and George Ogg. Heinrich became an all-American and had a long career as an NFL player and coach. Wiley was a Husky star.
When the Kitsap Sun listed its teams and "players of the century" in December 1999, Heinrich was the Player of the Century and the 1947 Bremerton HS football team was the Team of the Century.
Don Heinrich was inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame last year.

Jamie Hlebechuk

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Jamie was at home at either first base or shortstop and shared in the tournaments both at Central Kitsap High School and with the Diamond Dusters. She was a member of the National tournament teams in 1989, 1992, 1994 and 1995. And she was on CK’s four state tournament teams 1992-95, earning all-Olympic League honors each of her high school seasons. In 1995 she was featured in Women’s Fastpitch Magazine as a high school all-American. Jamie began her collegiate career at Western Washington University. Her freshman season she hit 21 doubles and eight home runs and had 21 runs batted in. Her sophomore stats included nine home runs. Jamie then transferred to Arizona State University. After sitting out her transfer year, she was a reserve outfielder most of her junior season. ASU made the NCAA Softball World Series that season (1999). Jamie found her stroke in Regional play at Ann Arbor, MI and was voted MVP of that tournament. Her senior season at ASU she played in 61 of the Sun Devils’ 63 games, batted .295 (41-for-139), scored 23 runs, had 22 RBI and made only two errors playing left field. She had one grand-slam home run at ASU, but remembers a bigger one. ASU defeated Arizona only once in six meetings while Jamie played. "One of the things that I’m proudest of is that I hit a three-run home run off (all-American and Olympic star) Jenny Finch in the game we won," Jamie says of the sweet memory.